By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Students in Marshfield joined thousands of others around the world on March 14, walking out of classes to demand stricter gun laws and an end to school shootings.
At Marshfield High School, about 100 students left their classrooms to join the National School Walkout event which began at 10 a.m. in each time zone.
Senior Roma Shah helped organize the event.
“We were very frustrated, especially after the Parkland shooting,” said Shah. “We felt that these are our lives at stake. This is no longer just an adult thing to worry about. We could be sitting in a school any day and die, and that thought is absolutely horrifying, and it is time something changes. There have been too many lives lost at this point and to ignore the value of those lives is quite frankly very disrespectful.”
Roma said she was happy with the turnout, which was part of an unprecedented show of unity and political solidarity across the country, as waves of students marched out of schools in hopes of getting the attention of Congress and other leaders.
“I hope that Congress will see these movements across the United States, and we will really start to take action – stop listening to special interests – things like that; and really start focusing on why lives matter, why we’re upset, and trying to address that and help us out,” Shah explained.
Carter Chojnacki also helped organize the event, exactly one month after 17 students and teachers were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, FL. Carter said students have three main demands of Congress: ban assault weapons and bump stocks, require universal background checks for gun sales, and a major investment in mental health organizations and wellness.
“Congress has not listened to the thoughts of the people, because, for example, universal background checks have over a 90 percent nationwide approval, yet it hasn’t happened,” Chojnacki said. “So, Congress is clearly being influenced by outside organizations, like the NRA, and not listening to its own constituents.”
Chojnacki was pleased with how the event turned out, even though he said they were met with several roadblocks along the way.
“For one, we had to get parent permission slips and a lot of students I personally know wanted to participate, but their parents wouldn’t sign off on it,” Chojnacki said. “We also couldn’t do it on school grounds. It had to be just off of school grounds. We also were told we couldn’t do this several times, but then we fought back and eventually were able to do it.”
Some schools across the country disciplined students who walked out. In places like Ohio and Maryland, students received an unexcused absence for participating. In Cobb County, GA, the school district was punishing students with Saturday school or a five-day suspension.
About a dozen parents and former teachers joined Marshfield students in protesting gun violence and calling for immediate Congressional action.